What: Game Eighteen
Who: NM State (7-10, 0-5 WAC) vs. UT Arlington (5-13, 0-5 WAC)
When: Saturday, January 14 at 7pm MT
Where from: Las Cruces, NM – Pan American Center (12,504)
Regard: ESPN+ | Comcast New Mexico | Bally Sports Arizona (Tape Delay)
Listen: Zia Country 99.5 (PxP – Jack Nixon, Analyst – Anita Skipper)
Participate: Online ticket sales
Statistics: Click here
Consequences: Twitter – @NMStateMBB, Instagram – @NMStateMBB, Facebook – NM State Men’s Basketball
THE OPENING TIP
• The Aggies will take on UT Arlington, still looking for their first win in the league after suffering five losses for the first time since the 1954-55 season when the Aggies started 8-0 in the Border Conference were opened against Conference opponents in a row.
• Up until this season, NM State had started with just five league losses in two other seasons (1954-55, 1945-46).
• Saturday’s meeting with the Mavericks is only their 13th meeting ever and the first time since 2013 that the two programs have shared the floor. However, this won’t be the first WAC meeting the two teams will meet, as NM State and UT Arlington have met three times during the lone season the Mavericks were at the WAC during the 2012-13 games.
DON’T MISS PINSON
• Xavier Pinson was automatically deducted from the charity streak during conference play as he currently ranks second in the WAC in free throw percentage in conference play by scoring 16 of 17 in the Aggies’ first five WAC competitions.
• As of Thursday against Seattle U, Pinson had not missed a free throw in the WAC game – making 14 straight before missing his first.
CHI CHI FOR THREE THREE
• Sophomore Forward Marchelus Avery has expanded his role in his sophomore year with the program, developing his game from beyond the arc after making just 10 three-pointers last season.
• Avery has doubled that amount this season and shot an impressive 44.4% from long range.
• The Richmond, Virginia native only increased his ability to be a threat from three-point land during conference play by notching a team-high 11 threes in just 18 attempts and one three in five games -point percentage of 61.1.
• The Aggies’ five-game losing streak is the first time NM State has lost five games in a row since 2010-11. This also marked the last time NM State dropped more than five games within WAC play outside of the COVID-19-hit year, as NM State played zero games at home.
• In the college ranks in four and a half years, Senior Guard Xavier Pinson has scored 1,395 points – which puts him just 105 points away from the 1,500 for his career.
• As of now, Pinson would need to average just 8.1 points per game to reach that regular-season milestone.
• Pinson currently leads the Aggies on 12.8 points per game.
HISTORICAL WAC DOMINANCE
• Amidst his final season in WAC, NM State put together one of the most impressive runs in all of college basketball.
• In more than 17 years, the Aggies have gone 196-69 against conference opponents.
• Additionally, the Aggies’ 10 WAC tournament titles are the most in conference history, with the UTEP’s five tournament titles being closest.
• Desshawndre Washington and Xavier Pinson was one of the most prolific backcourts in the country, currently averaging 8.9 assists per game.
• Both Pinson and Washington are currently in the WAC’s top five for assists per game, as Pinson’s 4.7 assists per game average is second best in the conference and Washington’s 4.2 assists average is fifth.
• The two guards, both from Chicago, Illinois, average in double digits as Pinson leads the Aggies – he’s averaging 12.8 points per game while Washington is second in the Aggies with 12.3 points per contest.
• Pinson and Washington are also the only two Aggies to have averaged more than 30 minutes this season under Greg Heiar.
NO WALK IN THE WAC
• WAC championships have run through Las Cruces for years and there seemed to be a rift between NM State and the rest of the league, but this season it looks like the rest of the league has finally caught up.
• Currently, WAC ranks 11th out of 32 Division I conferences in the NET average ranking (160.4).
• The Conference made a huge leap last season, ending the season 15th out of 31 with an average NET ranking of 194.0 after finishing 26th in 2020-21.
• Meanwhile, from 2018-19 to 2021-22, WAC achieved a final average NET ranking of 212.22 with a final average ranking of 20.5.
year average NET rank
2021-22 194.00 15th
2020-21 238.56 26th
2019-20 245.11 25
2018-19 171.22 16th
NM STATE ON THIS DATE
• About the history of the program, the Aggies
played overall on January 14th
27 times – for a 16-11 aggregate record, including a 4-0 mark in WAC play.
• Thursday is the 12th of the Aggies
Home game on Jan. 14 with NM State, who posted an 11-1 record.
• The Aggies are currently on a seven-game winning streak on 14 January, their last loss coming in 1989.
STATEMENT OF THE MAVERICKS
• UT Arlington head coach Greg Young is in his 14th season on the Mavericks touchline, but Young only took over as head man ahead of the 2021-22 season.
• In his first season as banker, Young led the Mavericks to an 11:18 overall record and a 7:10 record in UTA’s final season at the Sun Belt Conference.
• The Mavericks’ season finally ended against Louisian in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference Men’s Basketball Championship.
• UT Arlington have a new look this year as last season’s top three scorers are not included in this year’s squad.
• Controlling the glass on defense will be the Aggies’ main focus Thursday as UT Arlington ranks second in the nation in that category at an average of 14.56 offensive rebounds per game.
• That rebounding skill is spearheaded by do-it-all man Shemar Wilson, who ranked the Mavericks in points per game (10.8), rebounds per game (8.6), field goals made (64), free throws made ( 65) and blocks per game on tempo (1.1).
• Kyron Gibson is the only other Maverick to average double digits in the ratings column, averaging 10.2 points per contest.
• This is the 13th meeting between UT Arlington and NM State, with the Aggies holding a 12-2 lead over the Mavericks.